Breguet Type 20 Only Watch 2019
Is this a one-off experiment or a preview of a production-ready new Breguet Type 20?
In about seventy days or so, precisely on November 9th, the 2019 edition of the Only Watch charity auction will officially take place at the Hotel Des Bergues in Geneva and will see fifty luxury brands auction their one-of-a-kind timepieces whose proceeds will go to research on Duchenne syndrome. In a handful of cases, these unique pieces preview production-ready timepieces, and I hope that's the case with Breguet, whose Only Watch wristwatch perfectly summarizes the brand's legacy in making rugged military watches in the mid 20th century.
A Breguet Type is to French aviation and Navy what a Fifty Fathoms from sister company Blancpain was once to the French frogmen instead, hence a product designed to meet a military specification, the Type 20, whose commercial sibling was then identified as Type XX, with the Roman numerals replacing the Arabic ones.
The Breguet Type 20 Only Watch 2019 has a quintessential Type 20 architecture, like being, for example, a Flyback chronograph or, as Breguet highlights on its current Type line-up, a "Retour en vol" equipped watch, so as to allow the wearer to quickly stop and reset the chronograph by pressing a single Chrono button.
Featuring a two-counter layout, beveled polished and brushed lugs, mushroom-like Chrono buttons and oversized crown, the 38,30mm diameter case (again, another requirement set in the Type 20 specification) the watch stands out thanks to a knurled and thin bi-directional rotating bezel, with no markings at all, in line with original Type 20 watches supplied by Breguet along with other manufacturers at the time (Mathey-Tissot or Dodane, for example). On these early models, the Breguet logo was missing too. This bezel architecture makes the watch cleaner and super-readable. Also, avoiding any date window makes this historical re-issue even more appealing to the experienced collector.
The re-issue operation included not any mechanical movement, but a special one indeed, hidden behind the SuperCompressor like case-back: the Breguet Type 20 Only Watch 2019 comes with an entirely overhauled Valjoux 235 caliber, a successor to the Valjoux caliber 222 used in the 50s right on the Type 20s. It is a hand-wound column-wheel chronograph, featuring no hour counter, that will later appear with the introduction of the Valjoux 72 series caliber. The Breguet Type 20 Only Watch 2019 is not in the headlines as it appeared already a few months back, yet I took some time to dig into this watch's details as I firmly believe it is a winner and hope a similar production model will hit the stores anytime soon, as a great addition to the current Type range of products.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Breguet)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®